Shunning budget defence won’t help your battered image – Reps to INEC

Beloved JohnDecember 6, 20232 min

The representatives took an unreserved swipe at the electoral body, including the widely held view of its battered image from the last general elections 

Hon Balogun on INEC

The House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters has expressed displeasure over the absence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the planned 2024 budget defence hearing.

The House had scheduled Wednesday, December 6, for the electoral body to appear and defend its budget estimates. However, the meeting did not hold owing to the failure of the electoral body to attend.

Disappointed, members of the committee condemned the INEC’s action, demanding a justifiable excuse for the failure of the body to attend the defence hearing. 

Speaking on this, the chairman of the committee, Rep. Adebayo Balogun (APC, Lagos), said, “the failure of the electoral body to be present at the debate is against President Bola Tinubu’s request for a prompt review and approval of the appropriation bill.

“Unfortunately, INEC is not here, not a new way to start a new administration. Not when the president has given a matching order that he wants to maintain the January to December budget circle. I don’t know why they are not here. I don’t know what has caused them not to be here.

“Personally, we have to work to ensure that the battered image of INEC is redeemed. We are working on reforms to restore the credibility of INEC as it relates to previous and future electoral matters.

“I want to believe that there will be a genuine reason for their inability to appear before the committee to defend their budget. I learnt that the envelope they were given came to them as a shock because they were given less than what they got last year, and that is the reason why they should have been here”.

However, a newspaper report quoted the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekunmi, to have blamed the non-appearance of INEC on a misunderstanding. 

Oyekunmi said INEC was unaware that the committee was meeting today and was planning to appear at the National Assembly next week.“That was not our understanding. The chairman does not joke about things like this. I will inform the Chairman about this development,” he was quoted to have said.

Recall that since the outcome of the 2023 general elections, there have been increased calls for electoral reforms, including tinkering with INEC to guarantee its independence.

Beloved John

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